Paul di Resta calls for investigation into 'ridiculous' penalty

PAUL di Resta has called for a fresh look into his latest penalty, one he has described as "ridiculous".

Di Resta was running fifth in yesterday's rain-hit Canadian Grand Prix when he ran into Renault's Nick Heidfeld as he attempted an overtake.

The Scot's Force India came off worse as the car sustained front- wing damage that necessitated a trip to the pits for a replacement. Worse still, however, followed for Di Resta as the stewards deemed him to be at fault for the incident and gave him a drive-through penalty. It was the 25-year-old's second such punishment in as many races after failing with an overtaking manoeuvre on Jaime Alguersuari in the Monaco Grand Prix.

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On this occasion, though, Di Resta appeared to be harshly done by and he naturally felt aggrieved.

"I'd had a chance of passing Heidfeld the lap before the incident, but thought I'd bide my time," said Di Resta. "I got another run on him, got alongside him, but he was never going to make the chicane and he took my front wing off. So I had to stop for a wing change, and I got a drive-through penalty, which again I thought was harsh. In fact, it's not even harsh, it's ridiculous. I don't see how I was at fault for that.

"He came in front of me, yet I still made the corner and he didn't and all that happened was the front-wing end plate came off, so I didn't batter him. I'd like to see it again from the outside."

Asked whether he felt the team should pursue the matter, Di Resta added: "It definitely needs investigating. This time I feel it was not deserving of a drive-through."

Despite those two additional trips to the pits, Di Resta still had a shot at finishing in the points as he was 11th with two laps remaining. However, in attempting to pass Williams' Rubens Barrichello, he caught a damp part of the track and was pitched into the wall, sustaining a puncture from which he retired.

In his debut season, Di Resta concedes the last two races have been "massively challenging" for him, and that now it is all about how he bounces back. "We live to fight another day," said Di Resta. "I've just got to give myself a few days before I think too much about it, but when I arrive at the next grand prix (the European in Valencia] I have to be fully focused on trying to achieve more.

"It's tough because the decision was hard, but I can't beat myself up too much about it."

Meanwhile, Allan McNish believes the ferocity of his crash in the Le Mans 24 Hours on Saturday would have had a far more serious outcome had it occurred at the start of his career 30 years ago.The Scot, a two-time Le Mans winner, made a spectacular exit from the annual endurance race inside the first hour, clipping a backmarker just moments after taking the lead and flying at 120mph into the barriers.

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The 41-year-old was fortunate to escape with largely superficial injuries, although was badly shaken by the impact and was taken to hospital for a precautionary check. But he is aware it could have been so much worse were it not for the strides taken in car safety in recent years. "When I saw the ferocity of the accident, that made me very thankful, first of all, that I was in an Audi and it was very strong," said McNish, who had the consolation of seeing team-mates Andre Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer take the win on Sunday.

"(Had the accident happened] when I started in motor sport, I have to say I probably wouldn't have been able to talk to you right now and that is one of the developments that motor sport has given. We now have significantly better and stronger cars."

Asked about the extent of his injuries, he added: "I've been banged around a little bit but the biggest thing is a little bit of pain in the bottom of my back and a big graze around my shin. Considering the impact, I think we (were] all quite fortunate."